2018 VEC Suzuka – LMP1 #20

2018 VEC Suzuka – LMP1 #20

Introduction

– Suzuka represents the halfway point in season 10. The forecast is looking good for a dry race and we are excited about the setup we bring to this race. We also debut the new Skullbo paint job, recognizing our key sponsors and partners P1 Media, Champion Motorsports, and the Crew Chief. We appreciate their support through this season’s campaign.

Team Manager: Don Baumbach
Drivers: Cosimo Streppone, Tobias Lange, Don Baumbach

VEC car 20 at Suzuka

Qualifying

Tobias qualifies 7th position on the grid.

Race

With headlights “on”, Tobias starting at night (3 am local), and delivered 3 consistent stints. Toward the end, he worked his way to 4th position and was making preparation for a final stop to hand car over to Cosimo… when the race was red flagged (due to mass disconnection).

The situation required Tobias to stay in the car a bit longer and take the restart. While in the pits, the team switched over to softs and half tank fuel while, just enough to get to the hand-off window for Cosimo. This worked well as the restart also reset grip on the track, which appears to cause problems for some of the other teams.

Within a few laps, Tobias was able to gain 3rd position when Deltec car was involved in an incident at chicane as leading LMP1s were trying to work through the dense GT traffic.

Cosimo took over and held the position through 3 full stints, keeping the car safe. Then turned the car over to Don during code 80 with about 2hrs remaining in the race. Don left pits roughly 73 seconds behind the 2nd place FEEDER Ragnar team, but over a lap behind the leading PushRod Racing.

With 10-minutes remaining in the race and a 2-lap lead, the PushRod car lost control going into T1, causing significant damage.

Despite the attempt to limp around the track a couple of times to preserve the win, both FEEDER and SHQM were able to pass them before time expired.

At the finish line, our gap to 1st was 91 seconds.

VEC car 20 at Suzuka

VEC car 20 at Suzuka

Post-Race Comments

After setbacks in first three races, the team finally delivers a result consistent with its potential. Not the top step on the podium, but we taste the champagne. And we want more! Most important, we grow stronger as a team.

Championship

The results at Suzuka leave us in 5th overall, nestled in the middle of Division 3 LMP1 standings, 1 pt behind rf-Argentina Competicion. The result in Suzuka confirms the team’s potential, and there is larger sum of points at stake for the upcoming 12- and 24-hour races.

VEC car 20 at Suzuka


2018 VEC Suzuka – LMP2 #29

2018 VEC Suzuka – LMP2 #29

Introduction

– After 3 races and sitting pretty in P3, 14 and 4 point gaps to top runners respectively, we will be trying to close the gap to top runners while staying ahead of the chasing pack. As the VLMS race reassured a lot of teams (we included) attrition will play a role at Suzuka during crucial 8 hours.

Team Manager: Jon Uyan
Setups: Jon Uyan
Engineer (Pit Wall): Jon Uyan, Greg Hall
Drivers: Jon Uyan, Jordy Zwiers, Brian van Beusekom
Reserve Driver: Jules Goux

VEC car 29 at Suzuka

Qualifying

We qualified second.

Race

The #29 Simhq Motorsports P2 had a feisty run at what may be the worst multi-class track on the schedule, Suzuka. This weekend’s team consisted of Jordy Zwiers, Brian van Beusekom, and Jon Uyan, with a crippled Greg Hall providing Engineer support.

Jordy qualified P2, and was able to lead the race until lap 18 when unforced contact from a GT caused an early pit.

Jordy commented, “Having qualified second, we were focusing on the car ahead. While under pressure, the leader went wide at Spoon, allowing us to grab the lead. After some chaos behind there was a big gap which was growing steadily. Everything was looking well, up till the point a GTE had an unlucky spin and unfortunately hit our car. This cut our stint short and put us outside the pit sequences and left us with damage repairs. We dropped a lap down after we got going again, so now it was time to gain all the lost time back, a tough task with such a big gap to the leader. But we kept our heads down up till the point where we were 15 seconds behind the leader, but then a badly timed code 80 followed allowing our competitors to get a free pitstop when we just did one.”

After this contact, the #29 was off-cycle on pit stops and rotated through the top five as cars made their stops. Jordy gave way to Brian after 41 laps, Jordy was back in the car on Lap 87. A Code 80 caution at lap 113 allowed the #29 to sync up with other cars’ pit cycles, placing us in P3 after the rotations were complete. Jordy was able to pass MVRE #26 on track, returning the #29 to 2nd place for Brian to take over on lap 137. Jon took over the car on lap 183, needing to stretch his fuel to finish the race on two more stops. However, poor traffic luck allowed MVRE #26 to catch and pass Jon with 18 minutes remaining.

P3 for the #29 is our third podium in four races this year.

VEC car 29 at Suzuka

Post-Race Comments

I was in engineer position thru the qualifying and first 3 hrs of the race. Jordy and Brian did an excellent job with softs after I convinced them that was still an option vs mediums. Last few days leading up to race my tire testing showed softs were 1 to 1.3 sec faster depending on medium stints (first stint or second stint). Of course, traffic in race reduced this gap between the compounds a little but softs also provided better handling and better grip off-line when going thru GT traffic. If it didn’t work I was to blame of course but boys did deliver and used the compound to our advantage for sure.

As it has been every race since the start of the season bad luck strike again only 18 laps into the race. Additional repairs, dropping a lap down to leaders, out-of-cycle pit stops etc.. Jordy’s performance w/softs was unbelievable, close to qualifying lap times made us climb back up the positions, from P8 to P2. Brian on his last two stints kept the car in P2 especially after a Code80 that made all the top runners dive into pits and made everyone on same pit rotation again.

When I got into the car for the last 3 stints I felt great. It took a bit of time to get used to rubber on track and braking points. Softs were doing well but my pace was not that great. We lost time to #26 MVRE on track and also during my first stop. With Greg’s suggestion and to be on the same strategy as #26 I switched to mediums. But struggled a lot thru the hairpin. We were carrying a minor suspension and body damage. GT and LM-P2 traffic did not play to our advantage when it counted.

Closing laps #26 caught up to me and 2 laps later I got bogged down out of the last corner when a GT decided to change line in front of me. Following him very close I had to lift quite a bit to switch my line and that gave a big advantage to #26 right behind me to put on a pass on the S/F straight. I knew I still had chance to fight him since he was low on DF and I could close the gap thru twisty S1 and S2. This time with the help of lap traffic I was keeping him at bay. But just a few laps from finish a 13-lap down LM-P2 car decided to pass me on the front straight and chop my racing line then brake-check me going into T1 killed all my chance to fight for that P2 position if there was any.

Championship

All-in-all a good race for us. Another podium and we are still hanging with the leaders for the title.

Standings in VEC Division 2, P2 class:
1st place – Real Championship 1 – 88
2nd place – MVRE Motorsport – 71
3rd place – SimHQ Motorsports – 64

VEC car 29 at Suzuka


VEC Division 2

2018 VLMS Suzuka – LMP2 #48

2018 VLMS Suzuka – LMP2 #48

Introduction

– Round 4 of the VLMS season, Suzuka. Our goal for this race was to stay in contention for the championship. This meant we were aiming for at least a podium this race.

Tough and technical challenge of Suzuka brings season to halfway point. Sitting in P2 in the overall standings #48 has the momentum going into this race.

Team Manager: Greg Hall
Setups: Jon Uyan
Engineer (Pit Wall): Jon Uyan
Drivers: Jordy Zwiers, Brian van Beusekom
Reserve Driver: Jon Uyan

Qualifying

After some close times in practice, it was shaping up to be a close qualifying session. This is exactly what happened, because between us and 1Aco there was a 0.008 second difference in the closing stages. In the end they managed a better laptime to beat us to pole, but this was our best-ever qualifying position. We started second place on the race grid.

Race

Right from the start, traffic played an important role. It looked like we had slightly more trouble with traffic than others, as we were losing time and positions due to it. Halfway through, Jordy came in to hand the car to Brian, but unexpected repairs meant we dropped from 3rd to 8th place. Now the podium seemed out-of-reach and we started aiming for a top 5 position. Brian had made his way back into the 6th spot when a small misjudgement meant one wheel on the grass on the outside of the Dunlop turn. This was enough to spin the car and end up in the barrier, basically ending our race. After long repairs we ended up finishing 14th, 1 lap down on the car ahead.

Post-Race Comments

Few unlucky contacts and unforced errors forced us to stay in the pits just too long second half of the race. Finishing well beyond top 10 in P14, we are extremely lucky that points deficit to P3 is still only 2 points. Not being able to score any points in this race caused us to fall back into a big group where only 14 points separate 6 teams as the struggle and inconsistency among them continues. Hope that this was the only low of the season and Interlagos will be a race to bounce back again. We are definitely taking some positives from Suzuka; almost a pole position and fastest lap of the race.

Championship

Scoring 0 points this round, we drop to 3rd overall in the championship, 2 points behind 2nd, 26 points behind the leader.


VLMS